Green Room

The Obama Recovery: A More Pessimistic Correction

posted at 1:00 pm on February 21, 2012 by

Yesterday, in my piece “This Is Your Obama Recovery“, I looked at the math behind the unemployment numbers.  I concluded that when you subtract the unemployment numbersfrom the Bureau of Labor Statistics Labor Force Participation numbers, the number of Americans working is two percentage points lower than it was when Barack Obama was inaugurated, and only a fifth of a point better than the “low point” of the recession (in uemployment terms), in October of 2009.

I reached the numbers by subtracting the unemployment figure from the participation figure; for example, in October of 2009, I subtracted the 10% unemployment rate from the 65% participation rate to get an overall employment rate of 55%.

A commenter, “topdog”, at Hot Air - where Allahpundit was kind enough to run my post in its entirety – pointed out that I did the math wrong.  He was correct, of course; the unemployment rate is among those participating in the labor force, not the entire force.  I needed to recalculate, multiplying the BLS Labor Force Participation Rate  by the same month’sunemployment rate as supplied by the BLS.

It actually makes things worse for the Administration.

  • January 2009:  7.8% unemployment among the 65.7% of people participating in the workforce meant 60.67% of the work force was working the day Barack Obama was inaugurated.
  • October 2010 - lopping 10% unemployment from the 65% particpation rate leaves you 58.5% of the workforce at work on the month the unemployment rate supposedly bottomed.
  • January 2012 - Three years after Obama took office, with the unemployment rate right about the point where Obama said that it’d peak with Porkulus?  8.3% unemployment among a 63.7% share of the workforce still in the workforce yields58.41% of the labor force actually working.

So I was wrong.  We actually have a lower percentage of the work force actually working now than at the “low point” of the recession”, and two and a quarter points lower than when Obama took office.

I regret the error.

I hope America feels the same.

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Mitch: Title

Howard Portnoy on February 21, 2012 at 1:09 PM

The millions that disappeared from the labor force were hooked up with social security disability by the Obama administration.

Wigglesworth on February 21, 2012 at 3:19 PM

We can hope the US electorate regrets the error. Between the McCainiac and Obummer, we didn’t have much of a choice. The real error was on the part of the GOP electorate for putting up the idiot John “you don’t have worry about Obama” McCain. They are doing better at this point,although the flirtation with Mittens shows many haven’t learned a thing.

Quartermaster on February 21, 2012 at 7:46 PM